Welcome to FGCU

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About the University






Strategic Plan




The Five Colleges


FGCU Students


Cultural and Educational Hub


Beyond Campus


Our Role/Impact in SWFL


Community Support



In the almost two decades since it opened its doors, Florida Gulf Coast University has made an indelible impact upon Southwest Florida. It is a catalyst for the region’s economy as well as the cultural heart of the community. Our campus and region serve as living laboratories from which life-improving discoveries emanate. Our students enjoy one of the highest graduate employment rates among the state’s universities. And our sports teams energize the region. It is an institution that inspires those who inspire others. That’s what we call The FGCU Effect.





On the Southwest Florida coast between Fort Myers and Naples, FGCU encompasses 800 lush acres, with 50 percent of that land destined to remain in its natural state. The campus is conveniently close to Interstate 75 and the Southwest Florida International Airport.


FGCU is a member of the State University System of Florida (comprising 12 institutions) and is a young and growing institution of higher learning. It opened as Florida’s tenth state university in August 1997.

overwhelmingly positive. In less than 20 years, the programs of the university have transformed the futures of 24,000 alumni, the majority of whom live and work in the region and the state.

Its initial goal was to serve the five-county area (Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties), home to about 1 million residents. Today, the university attracts a much broader array of students from across the state, nation and dozens of international locales.

FGCU’s success is attributable to its focus on meeting the needs of the region for a skilled workforce that is civically engaged and whose members are excellent stewards of our environmentally sensitive region.

FGCU employs a competitive admissions process guided by state law and intended to provide equal opportunity for admission to all qualified prospective students. The institution exhibits a strong commitment to sustainability and civic engagement, which were the focus of its original Quality Enhancement Plan. In its young history, FGCU has been successful by any measure. It is the fastest-growing university in the State University System. Enrollment has more than quintupled since opening day in fall 1997, when there were 2,584 students to the 15,000 registered for classes in fall 2016. There are now students from 45 states and more than 85 countries. Residential students have grown from 200 living on campus in 1998 to more than 4,700 today. And the student body is increasingly diverse, starting at 12.6 percent minority in 1997 and rising to 30 percent today. The first graduation ceremony awarded 49 degrees; there are now 2,400 awarded annually. And first-year retention has improved from 43 percent in the early days to 78 percent today.

FGCU’s commitment to a sustainable future for our region is a hallmark of the institution. FGCU has developed a formidable presence in environmental education: estuarine and littoral studies, marine life, environmental engineering, and renewable energy are all disciplines in which FGCU has demonstrated research strength that has been successfully melded with instruction delivered by faculty in two colleges. A School of Integrated Coastal and Watershed Studies will provide further synergy among these related disciplines, supplying the laboratories and opportunities that will ensure our coastal environment thrives in the coming decades and creating an educated workforce to support this growing sector of the economy.

FGCU’s peer institutions are those public institutions that fall into the Master’s large Carnegie classification. From its inception, FGCU has served as a catalyst for regional development by bringing affordable public higher education to Southwest Florida. The response of the community has been enthusiastic and 2


There are 24,000 alumni, half of whom live in Southwest Florida and 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled. The university affords them the opportunity to pursue their career goals at an institution that is affordable, geographically accessible, offers small classes and focuses on student success.


FGCU’s 2016-17 operating budget is more than $239 million, which encompasses instructional costs, sponsored research and programs, athletics and other operational expenses.


24,000 Alumni 15,000

undergraduate & graduate students enrolled


The university bears little resemblance to the one that opened in 1997 with a handful of buildings and 2,584 students. It has grown exponentially to more than 90 structures, added a 15-acre solar field that provides most of the power for three large buildings and expanded from 26 majors to 54 for undergraduates as well as 36 graduate, doctoral and certificate programs.









Enjoy a concert, play or art show at the Bower School of Music & the Arts.

Take a coffee break at Starbucks. Spot future FGCU Alumni.



Beyond the effect the university has in providing access to education, its influence is increasingly felt throughout the region and state as graduates become members of the workforce, filling high-demand jobs as health-care professionals, teachers, software engineers, bankers, entrepreneurs, environmental researchers, marine scientists, golf professionals and resort managers. Not only are these proud alumni successful in their careers, many are active volunteers in their communities, giving back in ways they learned to appreciate while fulfilling their service-learning requirements during their college years. Today, FGCU is an institution to which the community looks for inspiration and expertise, whether it’s in the economic forecasting provided by our Regional Economic Research Institute, answers to critical environmental problems researched by our professor-scientists at the Vester Marine and Environmental Science Research Field Station or electrifying excitement provided on the courts by our Division I men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Attend events at the Lutgert College of Business. See the stars at the Egan Observatory.

Take a walk and relax on The Great Campus Lawn.

Cheer on the Eagles at Alico Arena.



Florida Gulf Coast University, a comprehensive institution of higher education, offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs of strategic importance to Southwest Florida and beyond. FGCU seeks academic excellence in the development of selected programs and areas of distinction in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, health professions, business, and marine and environmental sciences. Outstanding faculty and staff supported by a strong community of advisors prepare students for gainful employment and successful lives as responsible, productive, engaged citizens. FGCU emphasizes innovative, student-centered teaching and learning, promotes and practices environmental sustainability, embraces diversity, nurtures community partnerships, values public service, encourages civic responsibility and cultivates habits of lifelong learning and the discovery of new knowledge.



FGCU will achieve national prominence in offering exceptional value in high-quality educational programs that address regional and statewide needs. Our programs, firmly grounded in the liberal arts and sciences, will employ emerging instructional technologies. Possessing entrepreneurial spirits, graduates will be well prepared for productive lives as civically engaged and environmentally conscious citizens with successful careers, ready to pursue further education.


FGCU has drafted a strategic plan that builds on existing areas of strength, which include focus on teaching and learning, expansion of community and civic engagement and emphasis on criticalthinking skills grounded in the liberal arts and humanities. The 2016-21 plan establishes FOUR key pillars guiding the institution to address critical needs:


ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE Expanding the Honors Program into a college, increasing internships and cooperative education experiences, and refining or adding programs that lead to high-wage, high-demand jobs.



Developing new clinically oriented disciplines within health care as well as health-related areas in degree programs outside the College of Health Professions and Social Work, and expanding inter-professional education interaction and research collaboration.




Expanding the Institute of Entrepreneurship and encouraging an entrepreneurial focus throughout all undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The new Emergent Technologies Institute (ETI) will provide a state-of-the-art setting for these initiatives.

EMERGING PRE-EMINENCE Improving performance on metrics related to student success such as fouryear graduation rates, recruiting and retaining high-quality faculty and staff, and increasing faculty and student research.



Florida Gulf Coast University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees. In 2015, SACS reaffirmed its accreditation unconditionally after FGCU complied with all of its 95 standards and requirements. The university’s five colleges administer 54 undergraduate, 23 master’s and 3 doctoral degrees as well as 10 certificate programs. In 2014-15, FGCU awarded 2,062 bachelor’s, 302 master’s and 37 doctoral degrees. As FGCU approaches the 20th anniversary of its fall 1997 opening, it continues to develop and launch strategic new degree programs aligned with high-wage, high-demand opportunities in the regional, state, national and global workforce. FGCU offers the affordability of a state university, the first-class facilities and technology of a new university and the small class size of a private university. Undergraduate students make up 92 percent of our enrollment. The Office of Undergraduate Studies is charged with ensuring that students experience transformative opportunities that inspire them to become innovative thinkers, lifelong learners, community builders and engaged citizens. This begins as early as high school, with FGCU’s Accelerated Collegiate Experience, which allows juniors and seniors to enroll in college courses that give them a head start. It continues with the university’s flourishing


Honors Program, which allows FGCU students to engage in advanced scholarship as well as leadership training that develops a wellrounded individual. In addition to other resources that help ensure academic success, Undergraduate Studies connects students with the world off campus through service-learning opportunities that open their eyes to the impact they can have on the world and through internships and cooperative programs that give them the hands-on experience that prepares them to excel professionally. Similarly, the Office of Research and Graduate Studies facilitates support and provides quality service in the areas of sponsored research, research compliance and graduate education to our students, faculty, staff, administrators, partners and collaborators. The university offers 36 graduate and certificate programs in formats that accommodate varied schedules and learning styles — the traditional in-class model, online sessions, a hybrid or evening and weekend programs. Groundbreaking research at FGCU impacts the local community, shapes policy within the state of Florida, sets trends on the national landscape and sparks dialogues all over the world. Whether studying the effects of hurricanes on our precious Florida landscape or surveying the spread of infectious diseases via mosquitoes, the research being done here adds to the intellectual vitality of the academic community.


The largest of FGCU’s colleges, Arts and Sciences, houses 10 academic departments and the Bower School of Music & the Arts, along with centers and institutes focusing on special issues and topics. Its majors make up 38% of the student population. The College of Arts and Sciences is dedicated to providing a high-quality, liberal-arts education and fostering intellectual breadth and depth, reasoned and civil inquiry, intercultural understanding, an ecological perspective and civic engagement. College faculty and administration share the belief that interdisciplinary collaboration and scholarship enhance individual disciplines and benefit students. Undergraduates work alongside faculty contributing vital new knowledge that has regional and global impact. Research on the Zika virus led by biology professors has generated widespread interest as scientists and public-health officials chase clues to preventing and treating infection. Water quality and ecosystem restoration studies are conducted at FGCU’s Everglades Wetland Research Park, while researchers at the Vester Marine and Environmental Science Research Field Station investigate issues that affect the health of local waters as well as the creatures that live there – and end up in our food supply. The Bower School of Music & the Arts prepares students for careers in music performance, teaching and music therapy, theater and the fine arts. In addition to the classic offerings, students may learn techniques such as digital media design and environmental art. 8

LUTGERT COLLEGE OF BUSINESS The Lutgert College of Business, which offers an MBA program ranked among the nation’s top 300 by Princeton Review, instills students with the knowledge, skills and entrepreneurial drive to excel and to lead in every aspect of business. Faculty members bring a wealth of professional experience and scholarship to the college and to the aspiring business owners, accountants, economists, financial planners and resort and hospitality managers they teach and mentor. Through a practical curriculum, comprehensive academic advising and hands-on internship experience, graduates are prepared to transition successfully from classroom to boardroom. Students also benefit from the wisdom of many current and former executives who reside in Southwest Florida and are eager to share their expertise with the next generation of business leaders. The School of Resort and Hospitality Management within the college is uniquely positioned to partner with Southwest Florida’s exceptional resorts, exclusive private clubs and premier golf facilities for learning, networking and employment opportunities. The school’s PGA-accredited Professional Golf Management program is one of only 18 in the United States and the only one in Florida. Lutgert College has risen in a short time to become a regional locus for economic research and development, innovation and entrepreneurship. It houses the Institute for Entrepreneurship, Institute for Technical Innovation, the Florida Small Business Development Center and the Regional Economic Research Institute.


U.A. WHITAKER COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING The U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering produces graduates with superior technical and professional skills to meet the engineering challenges of Southwest Florida and beyond. The college is the sole source of undergraduate degrees in bioengineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering and software engineering between Tampa and Miami. It is located in a building designed strategically for engineering programs. Students have access to state-of-the-art equipment that accommodates the exacting technical work the study of engineering and computer science demands. Courses are designed around a highly active, lecture-lab model that enhances student engagement and enriches learning. Students benefit from smaller classes and more personalized attention as well as opportunities to conduct research alongside the college’s high-caliber faculty and staff, who are focused on teaching excellence and on the academic success of students.


COLLEGE OF HEALTH PROFESSIONS AND SOCIAL WORK The college offers high-quality, cost-effective programs that prepare graduates to succeed in the competitive health-care sector. With undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and certificate programs in fields that are in great demand, more than 95 percent of the college’s graduates are employed in their chosen professions within 6 months of graduation. Proof of the college’s quality is evident from first-time pass rates on licensure and national board certification exams, which exceed national averages and routinely rank among the state’s top five institutions. Programs in the School of Nursing and in the Departments of Counseling, Health Sciences, Rehabilitation Sciences and Social Work are grounded in prescriptive knowledge coupled with a strong clinical emphasis. The college’s academic rigor and high-tech simulation facilities, along with the support of clinical partners in the community, ensure that students enter their professions with the most up-to-date foundation of knowledge and skills in health promotion. In the highly competitive School of Nursing, programs are grounded in the belief that a sound arts and science foundation prepares graduates to excel in a diverse, rapidly changing and technologically oriented society. Faculty are committed to fostering a climate in which students are engaged as caring, compassionate and humanizing professionals.



The College of Education offers a broad range of accredited undergraduate and graduate programs for teachers, educational administrators and other professional school personnel. Faculty and students reflect upon and engage in the application of theory, research and emerging technologies in teaching, learning and curriculum development. The faculty delivers field-integrated and research-informed teaching with the highest standards, conducts research at the cutting edges of their respective fields, and is deeply committed to transformative education through collaboration with diverse community partners. The college has partnered with designated Professional Development Schools in the area to shape teachers capable of working in a variety of environments as soon as they graduate as well as to help schools compensate for teaching resources they may be lacking. Virtually all FGCU education majors find jobs immediately upon graduating, many in critical-needs fields such as special education and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The college’s academic initiatives are complemented by outreach programming and research supported by the Hunter Institute of Early Childhood Learning and the Whitaker Center for STEM Education.




With a student body of 15,000, FGCU has managed to consistently grow its enrollment while continually enriching educational, recreational, employment and service opportunities for those students as it expands.

Here’s an overview of FGCU’s student body:


enrollment for Fall 2015 was 14,824 students, a 2.5-percent year-over-year increase. } Undergraduates

make up 92 percent of the total student population, with about one-fourth of them freshmen and more than three-fourths full-time students. } 90

percent of FGCU students are from Florida, with half of those (45 percent) from the surrounding five-county Southwest Florida region. } Women

make up 56 percent of the student body. } The

population is diverse with Hispanic students representing 18.4 percent — a 3.4 percent increase for Fall 2015 — followed by African-Americans (8.5 percent) and Asians (2.7 percent). } About

one-third of students live in campus housing. } About

75 percent receive financial aid.

} The average SAT score for new students in 2015 was 1584. } The grade-point average of students last academic year was 3.03. FGCU student-athletes consistently lead the way academically among their peers both on campus and in the Atlantic Sun Conference, with a cumulative 3.28 GPA that has exceeded that of the student body for 14 consecutive semesters.



Using words such as “transformative,” “lifechanging” and “inspirational” in describing their university experience, FGCU students are the personification of what is known as The FGCU Effect. FGCU is among the top Florida state universities when it comes to graduates obtaining jobs or entering graduate school within a year of graduating. University Colloquium is a required course for undergraduates that teaches students to look outside themselves and explore the concept of sustainability so they develop an ecological perspective of society. A three-credit-hour course, it brings together students and faculty from all schools in an interdisciplinary learning experience unique to FGCU. FGCU’s guiding principles and values are key discussion points in University Colloquium, and critical thinking and writing skills are major components, as are 10 hours of service-learning related to the environment.


A core component of student life at FGCU is commitment to service. Service-learning is a key element of the FGCU experience, with all undergraduates required to complete 80 hours. Since the university opened its doors in 1997, FGCU students have performed more than 2 million hours on campus, in the region and have even traveled beyond the U.S. borders to improve the lives of others.


Among these efforts is the Dominican Republic Outreach Project, begun by former Professor Ingrid Martinez-Rico. After she was critically injured in a car accident, her students vowed to continue the project that meant so much to her. Now in its 16th year, this program takes students to the Dominican Republic for an alternative spring break each year during which they serve thousands of underprivileged people by helping to plant gardens, build playgrounds, deliver medical supplies, construct safe housing, offer literacy education and provide many more much-needed services.


FGCU is dedicated to promoting academic success, retention and timely graduation of its students through campus and community programs and partnerships that empower students to pursue their goals and a commitment to learning. In response to Gov. Rick Scott’s challenge to state-funded universities to improve four-year graduation rates and ensure graduates in top majors obtain jobs within a year of graduating, FGCU created an incentive program. FGCU’s innovative Soar in 4 program, introduced this year, rewards graduates with full reimbursement of out-of-pocket tuition expenses for their freshman year if they fulfill certain requirements. Among those are declaring a major as a freshman, seeking regular counseling assistance and participating in internships and other work programs, graduating in four years and obtaining a job in Florida within six months of graduation that pays at least $25,000 annually.

away from home and toward independence in life with seminars held in the freshman residence halls. Through its instructional-support and academic-retention programs, the Center for Academic Achievement helps students reach and maintain academic focus to stay on track for graduation. Freshmen have the opportunity to live in residence halls in which there are living/learning communities dedicated to their special interests. This helps them meet other students with similar interests and encourages them to become engaged in activities that are meaningful to them. Current living-learning communities include an Honors Community, the Leadership Through Service Community and a Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Community. Students in these communities live on the same floor of a residence hall and take two courses each semester together that are geared to their special interests.

That financial incentive aside, FGCU remains one of the best bargains in higher education. Tuition has remained unchanged for four academic years, and more than 75 percent of students receive financial assistance. In 2015-16, 1,300 scholarships were awarded through the FGCU Foundation, many earmarked to help firstgeneration and low-income students obtain a higher education. Once enrolled at FGCU, students are afforded a variety of tools and assistance they need to succeed. The First Year Residential Experience ensures that freshmen take a successful first step 16


Besides the educational and service-learning opportunities available to them, students are encouraged to engage in activities that build friendships, teamwork and, in many cases, additional opportunities for extended community outreach and impact. More than 4,700 students live in the 39 buildings that comprise campus housing. FGCU’s modern residence halls include North Lake Village, apartment-style living near a lakefront beach and Alico Arena; West Lake Village, another apartment complex located two miles north of campus; and South Village, which offers suite-style living for first-year students who also benefit from the First Year Residential Experience, a program that helps them transition to independent college life. With more than 250 registered student organizations, it’s easy for students to find fellow Eagles who are passionate about the same things. For some, the camaraderie offered by 21 fraternities and sororities brings a feeling of family to campus life. For those who enjoy athletic competition, but perhaps don’t possess the talent or time to join one of the university’s 15 highly competitive Division I intercollegiate teams, there are 26 sports clubs and an extensive intramurals program through which they can remain active. And for those who prefer to lend their support from the sidelines, the spirited Dirty Birds, FGCU’s official student fan club, provides a perfect outlet. Students can also have some active fun with recreational watersports at Lake Como – which has the university’s celebrated beachfront – outside North Lake Village, or take a dip at either the resort pool in South Village or the Aquatics Center’s 50- and 25-meter pools. Campus Recreation also offers day-long and multi-day trips that involve the great outdoors. For entertainment, besides the hundreds of events staged each year on campus by FGCU Athletics and the Bower School of Music & the 17

Arts, there are smaller, less-formal performances and events around campus throughout the academic year. And then there are the university’s two big events – Eaglepalooza and Nest Fest – which feature national contemporary music headliners and are usually held at Germain Arena just down the street from the university.


FGCU’s 526 faculty members represent a diverse collection of scholars and researchers with a strong commitment to teaching and service. Unlike most universities, FGCU does not have a tenure system so faculty members work on multi-year contracts. And, because the university is relatively young, it tends to attract professors with entrepreneurial spirits, those who are excited by the prospect of creating new programs and initiatives that benefit students and the community. FGCU offers 54 undergraduate degrees, 23 master’s degrees, three doctorates and 10 certificate programs. In addition to university accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, a number of programs/units have earned specialized accreditation (fgcu.edu/ Provost/accreditation.html) from professional accrediting agencies. Across the disciplines, faculty members successfully secure highly competitive national and other grants, and also lead a broad range of research projects, bringing in $12.47 million in funding in 2015-16. Since 1997, the university has brought in more than $207 million in research funds. A sampling includes: } Virologists

are on the front lines of the fight against the Zika virus, working closely with mosquito control officials in Miami-Dade to determine where the infected mosquitoes are located. The researchers are also working on the relationship between Zika and dengue virus, which are carried by the same mosquitoes and infect thousands of people worldwide each year. The scientists have acquired two patents relating to their work on dengue. scientists are working on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant to research ciguatera fish poisoning, which affects some 50,000 people a year when they unknowingly consume the toxins while eating fish such as grouper, snapper and

hogfish. The toxins cause serious abdominal cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea and sometimes neurological damage. Marine scientists are trying to determine when these toxins will flare up and appear in fish populations with the hope that it could help reduce the number of people exposed to it. } Business

faculty members are providing an incubator for young entrepreneurs through the Institute of Entrepreneurship in the Lutgert College of Business. Engineering and business students team up to design a product, create a marketing plan and make a formal presentation to a team of judges who award the winners seed funding to help them get started. This program has also broadened its scope recently by providing a similar opportunity to veterans interested in starting their own businesses. Through a state grant, professors affiliated with the institute helped veterans devise a plan and product and held a “compassionate shark tank” at which money was awarded to the top proposals. The university also believes in offering faculty members the opportunity to continue learning and honing their skills. Through the Lucas Center for Faculty Development, firsttime instructors take part in a program that helps them gain a thorough understanding of classroom management, learning theory, instructional design and teaching techniques. There are additional programs for experienced faculty members designed to enhance their skills throughout their careers.

} Marine



As FGCU celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2017, the artistic campus community has its own milestone to honor: 10 years of the Bower School of Music, whose students and faculty have entertained thousands — from the U. Tobe Recital Hall on campus to the brightest stage of Carnegie Hall, shining at numerous state, national and international competitions along the way. In 2013, student pianist Priscila Navarro became the first FGCU musician to perform at Carnegie Hall after she took first place at the 2012 International Chopin Piano Competition. Last November, the FGCU Wind Orchestra also performed at the renowned New York venue. Staying true to its motto of “Changing lives through the powers of the arts,” the Bower School of Music & the Arts will stage more than 60 concerts, theatrical productions and visualarts exhibits during the 2016-17 academic year, many integrating student-faculty talent with professional musicians, artists and actors.



When FGCU’s men’s basketball team came from nowhere in 2013 to win two NCAA tournament games and vault into the Sweet 16, it showed a national audience what those in Southwest Florida already knew: The young university’s entire athletics program got really good, really fast. FGCU’s 15 intercollegiate sports teams have collectively won 53 conference regular-season and tournament championships in just nine years of Division I competition in the Atlantic Sun Conference and Coastal Collegiate Sports Association, the latter for swimming and diving. Not only are FGCU student-athletes consistent winners in competition, but also in the classroom, with their cumulative 3.28 gradepoint average in spring 2016 surpassing that of the overall student body for the 14th consecutive semester. While the best-known FGCU athlete is Chicago White Sox all-star Chris Sale, one of Major League Baseball’s most dominant pitchers, no less than seven Eagles signed professionalsports contracts in 2016 alone, and three others — swimmers Evita Leter and Lani Cabrera and sand volleyball player Brooke Sweat — were Olympic athletes competing in Rio de Janeiro this summer.




CONTINUING EDUCATION A huge part of The FGCU Effect is the University’s community reach and impact, and one of the key ways it engages Southwest Florida is through an extensive network of continuing-education programs both on and off campus.

THE MISSION: to meet public- and privatesector training and development needs by providing educational opportunities that enrich the intellectual, civic, economic and cultural life of the region and state and — through the popular Renaissance Academy — offer residents diverse, non-credit programs to keep them intellectually, creatively and culturally active. With continuing-education office locations expanding from the main campus to satellite centers strategically located throughout the region — from the Naples Center in Collier County to the south, to Herald Court Centre in Punta Gorda to the north, to a main-office hub centrally located at The Atrium in Fort Myers — FGCU offers a strong educational presence throughout the region. And for those who prefer to study from home or the office, FGCU has partnered with several leading online curriculum providers to offer hundreds of instructor-facilitated and self-study professional development and training courses for business owners and employees wishing to improve their professional skill sets.



WGCU Public Media has served Southwest Florida with quality public television and radio programming for more than 30 years. Originally a satellite operation licensed to the University of South Florida, WGCU Public Media became independent in 1996 when the broadcast licenses were transferred to FGGU, and a new, state-of-the-art broadcast facility was built on campus. Since that time, WGCU Public Media has dramatically strengthened and expanded its physical infrastructure, financial base and media services — which consists of four digital TV-programming streams, including a 24-hour high-definition channel; a monthly magazine with 14,000 subscribers, an awardwinning website that digitally archives all locally produced TV and FM radio shows, and a team that has produced more than 160 TV documentaries, many award-winning and distributed nationally through the American Public Television Service.


Southwest Florida is a subtropical paradise that attracts visitors from all over the world for its sun, beaches and gulf waters. It offers a wealth of attractions, restaurants, cultural and recreational activities, along with considerably less congestion than areas such as Tampa-St. Petersburg, Orlando and the state’s East Coast. Despite its smaller population, the region is awash in amenities, making tourism one of the region’s primary industries. On the economic side, unemployment in the region is at about 4.7 percent. The region’s largest and fastest-growing industries include the retail sector, hotels and motels, restaurants, health care, social assistance services and construction. Companies such as Hertz, Gartner and Arthrex have large local operations and close ties to FGCU. The Gulf of Mexico borders the coast, with communities such as Sanibel, Captiva, Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs and Naples offering public beach access. Rivers such as the Caloosahatchee and Gordon afford additional water for recreational activities such as fishing, boating and waterskiing.

Estero River

Fort Myers Beach

Sanibel Island


OUR ROLE/IMPACT IN SWFL FGCU contributes to a robust workforce by educating students in the fields of the health professions, business, engineering, resort and hospitality and education, among other fields, that are in high demand in the region. FGCU’s faculty also serve as a rich source of expert advice and insight for area businesses. Many members serve on boards and committees, lending their assistance in a variety of ways. In addition, the Small Business Development Center assists in helping businesses get started and succeed through one-on-one counseling and a host of seminars offered throughout the region.

With 24,000 alumni, about half of whom live in Southwest Florida, FGCU graduates play a significant role in the local workforce. The university’s Regional Economic Research Institute performs economic research, analysis, and forecasting for various organizations in Southwest Florida. The Institute publishes a variety of works, including a monthly Southwest Florida economic report and a quarterly business climate survey report. The university’s alumni are relatively young with many raising families, balancing college loans, mortgages and saving for their children’s future educations. As a result, their ability to donate is limited, making annual giving something of a challenge. Nonetheless, the Advancement division views this as an opportunity for engagement and growth. The Alumni Association has established 10 regional chapters and clubs across the country to help alumni remain engaged with their alma mater through networking and social events. The first Give Day took place this year, resulting in $1.18 million in donations from alumni, faculty, staff and other supporters of the university. Yet another measure of community support of the university is the success of the two major capital campaigns that have been undertaken in FGCU’s relatively brief history. Most recently, under President Wilson G. Bradshaw, a $100-million capital campaign has met with 23

great success, with the community stepping forward to help fund initiatives in student success, academic excellence, scholarships, athletics, and community and regional impact.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT Although Florida Gulf Coast University is a state university and receives funding from the state at levels determined annually by the Florida Legislature and governor, it could not have grown as rapidly, or been able to offer the range of programs and facilities it currently does, without the generous support of the community. Through the two decades during which FGCU has operated, the university has been able to award almost $19 million in scholarships derived from the earnings on endowed funds created by donors. A select group of top donors – known as members of the Order of the Majestic Eagle – each have contributed $2 million or more, collectively contributing 1,400 acres, 10 buildings and $100 million. It is clear that there has been substantial community support for the university throughout the region.


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